For the better part of their two-and-a-half hour game, the Boston College Eagles had Florida State's number. Starting pitcher John Gorman was rolling, shutting out one of the nation's most potent offenses. Through seven innings, he'd allowed just one hit - a double in the bottom of the second. He retired seven in a row early, then followed it up by sitting down eight in a row. Staked to a 2-0 lead before he ever took the hill, it was arguably the best start by a BC pitcher in years.
Sometimes, though, baseball has a funny way of breaking your heart.
The Norwood, Massachusetts native walked the first batter of the eighth and surrendered an RBI double as Florida State cut the BC lead to 2-1, then watched as reliever Mike King surrendered the tying run. He was in the dugout as an error kept the inning alive, and a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded turned the 2-0 position to win into a 3-2 no decision. And when FSU closer Billy Strode went 1-2-3 in the ninth, Boston College was left with a disappointing defeat.
The Eagles took the lead before many of the 4,500-plus fans in attendance had a chance to find their seats. Leadoff hitter Jake Palomaki walked, and Chris Shaw blasted his fourth home run of the season two batters later off starting pitcher Boomer Biegalski. That put Gorman in the lead before he ever set foot on the rubber, and when the BC ace stepped up to the mound, he was on fire from the beginning.
Dylan Busby recorded the Seminoles only hit of the first seven innings with a double in the second but Gorman induced a double play to end the inning. He walked a batter in both the third and fifth but stranded them in both innings, entering the eighth after striking out the side in the seventh. With a 10-strikeout performance on his shoulders, he walked leadoff hitter Josh Delph, who scored when Danny De La Calle doubled down the left field line two batters later
With one on and one out, Mike Gambino went to the bullpen for Mike King for a five-out save. But after recording two two-inning saves already this year, King faltered, walking pinch hitter Quincy Nieporte. Darren Miller hit a roller to shortstop, and De La Calle, who had advanced to third on a wild pitch, scored to tie the game at 2-2.
King attempted to pick off Nieporte but threw the ball into center, allowing the runners to move up one and set up second and third with one out. With first base open, the Eagles opted to walk DJ Stewart than pitch to him, loading the bases for a potential force play with one out. The double play proved moot when King struck out John Sansone, but he plunked Gage West to push the go-ahead run across the plate. He got out of the inning, but the three runs put the Noles up by one with Billy Strode coming out to close things out.
Strode went 1-2-3 in the ninth to send the Eagles into the night with their second straight loss.
BC did have a chance earlier in the game to push across a third run in the fourth but failed to convert. With one out, Joe Cronin reached via an error and advanced to third when Donovan Casey singled up the middle. With Gabriel Hernandez at the plate, Mike Gambino signaled for a squeeze play. Hernandez bunted the ball right back to the box, and Biegalski came home with the throw to tag out Cronin. Although BC still had runners on first and second, Nick Sciortino struck out to end the inning.
Gorman finished with a no-decision but pitched one of the all-time great performances by a starter in recent memory. He went 7.1 innings, and he was charged with two runs on just two hits. He struck out 10 while walking only three. Mike King (0-1) ended up charged with the loss, charged with only the go-ahead run. He struck out two and walked two, issues a wild pitch, and hit one batsman - the all important one that delivered the go-ahead RBI.
For FSU, Biegalski spun a gem, overshadowed only by Gorman's performance. He struck out 10 across seven complete innings, allowing just two hits and no runs after the Shaw homer in the first. Bryant Holtmann (2-1) pitched a perfect eighth to pick up the win, and Strode's perfect ninth was good enough for his sixth save of the year.
The Eagles and Seminoles will play their third and final game from Tallahassee at 1 PM on Sunday. This game will be televised via ESPN3, whereas the second game was available on NolesTV.